Top 4 Reasons Why Clothes Smell After Tumble Drying

Top 4 Reasons Why Clothes Smell After Tumble Drying

Disheartened by a lazy tumble dryer? We reveal the reasons for smelly laundry loads and how to solve the problem in each case.

Laundry that smells after tumble drying has several causes. The tumble dryer could be in need of cleaning or fixing. The laundry might still be dirty or damp. Another common mistake is also to load too much clothing into the tumble dryer.

You open the dryer’s door and the laundry smells terrible. Again. Avoid repeating this disheartening moment by learning all about the 4 most common reasons.

The 5 Main Reasons Why Clothes Smell After Being Tumble Dried

By the time your clothes pop out of the tumble dryer, you are almost done with a chore that few people adore (doing the laundry). If all goes well, the items come out smelling great. Clean and warm. You can now proceed to the next step which is likely the laundry line or ironing room. But sometimes things go wrong. Instead of radiating a clean aroma, your clothes smell dank or musty. What is raining on your parade here, for crying out loud?

These 5 tricksters are up to no good and one of them is most likely behind your smelly stuff.

  1. The tumble dryer needs to be cleaned.
  2. The tumble dryer is faulty.
  3. The laundry is still dirty.
  4. The laundry is still damp.
  5. You overloaded the tumble dryer (Sorry for pointing that finger!). 

The Tumble Dryer Needs To Be Cleaned

Top 4 Reasons Why Clothes Smell After Tumble Drying

Yep, a gunky tumble dryer cannot produce nice-smelling laundry. But this cause was probably the first thing that popped into your mind once the unwelcome musty hits your nose. 

The truth is that tumble dryers need regular maintenance. When done on a regular basis, your laundry will survive bad smells and the cleaning itself will go quickly. If you are new to giving your tumble dryer a face-lift, no worries. Here are the top tips to help you on your way. 

  • Chuck the lint out after every cycle. A lint filter that is stuffed with bits and bobs will interfere with how well your appliance can dry and refresh the laundry.
  • Make sure that the heat exchanger stays clean. This part of a tumble dryer can get clogged. When that happens, the appliance often fails to work efficiently.
  • Wipe the interior of the tumble dryer after every cycle and also leave the door open to air the inside. This will prevent mould and mildew from taking hold.
  • Ensure that the vent’s hose pipe is not bent, obstructed or damaged in any way.
  • Keep the wall vent clean.

Mould and mildew strike anywhere in the home and not just in your tumble dryer. If your bathroom is affected, we have the best advice to get rid of the musty smell in your bathroom (and what causes it). You can also check out our popular article on why kitchen cabinets are musty and how to solve the problem.

The Tumble Dryer Is Faulty

When your appliance is going south, a funky load of laundry is not the only sign. If clothing smells bad and any of the following symptoms are also present, then you might want to call a repair guy to have a look at your tumble dryer.

  • The drum is turning slowly, struggles to move or refuses to move.
  • A major sign is that there is little to no heat inside the tumble dryer.
  • The tumble dryer is more noisy than usual. Loud knocks, grating and other unusual sounds are also a cause for concern. 
  • You notice that the appliance has water leaks. 

To rehash an earlier suggestion, if you feel that your tumble dryer needs repair consider a reputable company or person. A large appliance like a tumble dryer is a complicated appliance and you do not want to damage it or put yourself in danger. An experienced repair company can also correctly identify the exact problem with your tumble dryer. 

The Laundry Is Still Dirty

Experienced homemakers know that you cannot put dirty clothing inside a tumble dryer and expect daisies to fall out! If a load of laundry still contains stains, smells, or another type of soiling, there is nothing a dryer can do to fix the situation. A tumble dryer performs best when clean clothing is added and nothing but clean clothing. 

If your clothes smell after a wash, then you might need to look at your washing machine instead of the tumble dryer. Also, make sure that you use the correct amount of laundry detergent and the right washing cycle for the fabrics you are washing. 

Another reason why laundry is still dirty after washing is using too little detergent. It’s best to follow the instructions on the box or bottle for the best results. In case you are wondering why this stuff is so pricey, here are the top 5 reasons why laundry detergent is so expensive

The Laundry Is Still Damp

Top 4 Reasons Why Clothes Smell After Tumble Drying

Whether this is due to a faulty tumble dryer, overloading the appliance, or stopping the cycle too soon, damp clothes is a big reason for smelly clothing. We all know that wet dog smell too well! If you stopped the cycle yourself and the clothing is obviously smelling and feeling damp, allow the tumble dryer to complete a full run. If you did not interfere and the dampness is still there then perhaps try these two things:

  1. Place fewer items of clothing in the tumble dryer.
  2. Allow a trusted repair company to test your appliance. 

How Overloading Causes Problems

A tumble dryer has a weight capacity. For example, if your appliance is a 7-kilogram loader, then it means you can add up to 7 kilograms of dry clothing. When this rule is adhered to, the tumble dryer should be able to cope and dry the laundry normally. 

Some people overload their tumble dryers and we really do not really anyone. Who wants to do two cycles when you can get everything done at once? While the logic is sound and everybody hates laundry day, this is unfortunately not how it works. You are setting yourself up to repeat the cycle again because overloading causes a dryer to struggle and underperform. Indeed, it might complete the cycle but the results will be poor.

How Do I Weigh Laundry?

Weigh yourself on a bathroom scale while holding the laundry and take note of the weight. Next, weigh yourself without the laundry. Once you subtract the two results, you will know what your laundry weighs! If you do not have a bathroom scale and do not wish to purchase one, then trial and error is another method. Start with small loads and stick to the capacity that produces the best results.

A Short Summary On Why Clothing Smell After Tumble Drying

  • It is never normal for laundry to smell bad after they come out of the tumble dryer.
  • Often the problem is as simple as overloading the appliance, not cleaning the tumble dryer enough or placing dirty clothing inside.
  • A more serious problem is that faulty dryers can also make clothing smell. The appliance needs to be checked by a professional to find and fix the problem.
  • Dampness is also a major cause. This is caused by either overloading, a faulty dryer, or manually stopping the cycle too soon.

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About the Author Harry Thompson

Involved in home renovations throughout his life, Harry is an expert in everything to do with home and garden DIY. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and tending to his garden.